Monday, August 31, 2009

Handbag Crazy

I can't help myself.....

I just keep on sewing handbags.....

This one was in my creative space last week....

Exactly the same as the other one, but this time, with a brown strap. I really like the shadows in this photo, taken in the early morning light.

Maybe I'll focus on making something else this week.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

WHO is it?

Did you see who was in this weeks WHO magazine?

Annmarie's lovely Map 29 purses are featured in the style section. If you hurry, you can head on over and enter her giveaway and maybe win one for yourself.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just a minute..... in August

Photos: A sneaky peek of my progress on the Quilt Project

Time certainly flies when you're having fun. August has been full of highlights, and not many lowlights - it's all been high energy, get up and go (or as high energy and get up and go as I can actually get). Luckily, I really enjoy being busy.


There hasn't been much tv watching this month. I tape all of my favourite shows on IQ, and then fast forward the ads while watching them. It saves me so much time.

I'm still loving Project Runway Australia. I think Anthony is my favourite - mainly for personality, I don't think I could actually wear any of his creations. I also really like William's creations, and if I was to choose the person who makes the prettiest outfits, I'd go with Lauren. I actually wish Kelly was still there, just for the bitchiness!

The other show I really love and can't miss is Sarah's House on How To. I wish she'd come over to my house and make it over.

  • I've been working on some ideas for the Quilt Project. I haven't got the final design decided just yet, but I want to include lots of different textural elements. I've just got to try to work out how on earth it's all going to come together, and not look like a mess, by September 20th.
  • I'm still working on Doiley Brooches - they're going to make their debut next Saturday at Made'n'Thornbury.
  • I've made lots and lots of handbags this month (at least 10 at last count), kids satchels, baby wraps, bibs, chefs hats, brooches, aprons, and a specs case.
  • Today, I repaired the side seams of my BIL's work trousers, and tomorrow I'm hemming curtains (not the type of making that makes my heart sing), but it's the type of making that has to be done.

  • I still haven't found my baking mojo (it's because my kitchen only has one powerpoint, which makes it extremely difficult to use appliances), but I did make a nice chocolate pud (which I ate all by myself), and a packet mix chocolate cake (which I shared).
  • I bought myself a mega pack of tim tams today, so that should get me through the week.

  • Reading took a back seat this month. I did read one book which was sort of autobiographical, but it wasn't actually good enough for me to bother blogging about.
  • I also bought WHO magazine (that's a story for tomorrow) today. I never ever buy magazines anymore (except Mixtapezine) as my house ends up being filled with clutter when I can't bear to throw them away.

Looking forward to:

The final task for August:
  • Tomorrow (with help from some lovely friends), the vertical blinds are coming down and I'm putting up lovely wooden curtain rods and block out curtains for my sliding doors. Not only will they look much prettier, but I'm hoping that they'll save me some money on my electricity bill..... can't wait!

For more of Just a Minute, or to join in the monthly fun, head on over and visit Jen at August Street.

A tea towel bonanza

Somewhere in between moving back to Australia from Japan (while pregnant), and having a beautiful new little bubba, the lovely Melanie from Kimono Re-incarnate has taken the time to send me an amazing package of tea towels.

Melanie's Grandma was cleaning out her linen closet and was going to get rid of them, but now they'll be transformed into new creations instead!

My favourite one is the bright yellow tea towel from Zimbabwe (top right). If you look really closely, you'll see that there's a town on the map named Wankie.... that really tickled my fancy and made me laugh.

Have you also spotted the handmade card with a paper crane.... so cute. I think I need to find a shadow frame for that one so I can add it to my art wall (that is, when I actually get art on the wall, and have an art wall)...... my white walls are ooooooh sooooooo boring.

Friday, August 28, 2009


It seems like I've been harping on about this woollen jumper forever.... until lastnight, when I finally tired of it sitting on my craft bench and mocking me while I sewed!

The photo above is the style that I was aiming for. All I did was to cut it down the centre front panel, and then hack the arms off with a pair of scissors.

I really liked the look of the short sleeve cardi. I didn't like the fact that the arm holes were actually cutting off my circulation. I have my hands on my hips in the photo because the arm holes were so tight that I physically couldn't put my arms by my side.

Luckily for this project (unluckily for when I actually try to buy clothes), I have really narrow shoulders which are quite out of proportion to the rest of my body. My shoulders are actually the perfect size for my poor little shrunken jumper.

I kept hacking at the arm holes trying to fix the problem, but it seems that the arm holes had other ideas, so I hacked off the arms entirely...

.....and ended up with this.

At least it's a beginning - I'm looking forward to trying out some felted refashioning projects after looking at even more inspiration this week here and here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My creative space

This weeks creative space actually looks a lot like last weeks!

I'm using the same vintage kitchen cafe curtain to make a handbag for Annmarie.

I was admiring the gorgeous washcloth that she was knitting at the market last Saturday, and then when I saw her on Monday, she gave me a little package.

Inside the package was the washcloth and some lovely Lemon Myrtle and Poppyseed soap that she had also made. So sweet!

The original kitchen curtain handbag is currently in the shop (just in case you're interested).

More of this weeks creative spacers here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tutorial - How to make a Chefs Hat for your budding Masterchef

I've made three Chefs / Bakers hats as gifts so far, and the kiddies seem to love them, so I thought I'd share my technique so that everyone else can join in the fun. It's a quick and easy project that you should be able to whip up in less than 1.5 hours.

Today I'm making a hat for my 10 year old nephew, so I've chosen fabrics that he likes (not necessarily what I like).

There are three different sections of the hat - Puffy Top, Headband, and Binding.

Lets begin with a list of things that you will need:
  • Three fabrics (you won't need much so you can probably rummage through your scraps)
  • Iron on interfacing for the headband
  • For the closure - Snaps or Velcro or Ribbon or Buttons
  • Sewing supplies - sewing machine, tape measure, fabric marker, rotary cutter, mat etc.
It's probably best to read through the tutorial and work out the measurements before you begin. There's a little bit of very basic maths involved to ensure that the hat fits!

Step 1 - Cutting the Puffy Top

  • Cut a square of fabric approximately 40 cm x 40 cm (I just use a very large quilting ruler).
  • Fold the fabric in half, and then in half again, so that you now have a folded square (20 x 20 cm).

  • Make sure that your folded edges are at the left hand side and at the bottom.
  • Grab a dinnerplate, and place it on top of the fabric, and trace an arc onto the square, or just cut around the plate using your rotary cutter (you could also use scissors).

  • Open out the fabric and you should have a fairly neat squarish circle (don't worry too much about perfection as it will be all gathered anyway).

Note: the smaller the original cut square of fabric, the smaller the puffy top will be. If you would like a really large and puffy chefs hat, just make the fabric square larger.

Step 2 - Cutting the Headband
  • If possible, measure the head circumference of your intended victim recipient - my nephew is approximately 54 cm.
  • If you're making this for a child, then it's best to add a couple of centimetres and the make the hat a little larger so that it will fit for longer (we're going to make the closure adjustable for different sizes later on).
  • Cut two strips of fabric 8 cm wide x head size in length - I'm cutting mine 8 cm wide x 56 cm in length.
  • Cut two strips of interfacing in the exact same size, and iron them onto the back of the headband strips.

Step 3 - Cutting the Binding

  • I'm using a piece of straight cut binding for this project, so it's just a basic straight cut strip of fabric which I've turned into binding using my trusty Clover 25mm Bias Tape Maker.
  • The width of the strip will be determined by the bias tape maker - I've cut my strip approximately 2.5 cm wide.
  • The length is determined by the headband measurement plus an additional 30 cm.
  • Therefore the strip of fabric will be 86 cm long x 2.5 cm wide.
  • Run the strip through the bias tape maker - check this fab tutorial if you're not sure.
  • Once I've done this, I then fold my strip in half again and iron it (turn the steam off beforehand or you'll burn your fingies).

Step 4 - The fun part (Construction)
  • Place your two headband pieces wrong sides together (the interfacing on the inside).
  • Sew around the four sides very close to the edges (the edges will be hidden later).
I've used pink thread for the purposes of this tutorial but I would actually use matching thread.

  • Place your sewing machine on the longest stitch selection and sew a simple stitch line right around the circle, taking care to leave long threads at the ends (do not backstitch / backtack at beginning or end).
  • Pull the bottom thread slowly and carefully (to ensure that it doesn't break) from either side to begin gathering the puffy top.
  • Keep gathering until the gathered bottom circumference of the puffy top is the same length as your headband strips (in my case 56 cm).
  • Tie off your threads so that the gathering cannot undo, and so that the size cannot be changed.
  • Place your headband piece and the puffy top right sides together, and either sew or overlock the entire way around the hat.
  • I find it easier to use clips rather than pins as the gathered puffy top and the interfaced headband are quite thick.
  • Turn right sides out, and topstitch around the top of the headband (as you're topstitching, fold the overlocked or stitched seam from the inside, down towards the bottom of the hat, so that the topstitching is going through lots of layers and providing extra stability and support).

Step 5 - The binding

Now that the hat has been constructed, the binding will finish everything nice and neatly.
  • Turn the hat to the back where the ends of the headband meet up.
  • Using sharp scissors, make a slit up into the puffy top approximately 5 cm (this will help to form the adjustable closure).
  • Start stitching the binding at the bottom corner edge of the headband (you can start with a raw binding edge as this will be covered later)
  • Machine stitch the binding all the way around the bottom edge.
  • When you get the corner, you will need to swivel 90 degrees and fold your binding and then continue stitching up along the edge of the headband, and onto the puffy top where you previously made a slit with the scissors.
  • When you reach the top of the slit, swivel and turn and keep stitching the binding back down until you are approximately 5 cm from the end.
  • At this point, you'll need to trim your binding to the correct length.
  • Before trimming, ensure that you leave enough length to fold inside and under, so that you are not left with a raw binding edge.

Step 6 - The closure

When it comes to the closure, you could use buttons, velcro, or even ribbon, but I like to use snaps (probably just because I get to play with the hammer).
  • Follow the directions that come with your snaps - I use a Snapsetter.
  • I place the snaps at various intervals to allow for different head sizes.

For an alternative closure idea, check out this fabulous Chefs Hat by Lara from Thornberry.

Step 7 - Go forth and Cook or Bake to your hearts delight!


Photo courtesy of Sheeps Clothing

I've been working very hard lately (I even managed to finally get all my tax sorted and ready to send to the accountant), so I thought I deserved a little bit of handmade goodness.

My reward to me for all of that hard work - a beautiful pure wool scarflette from Sheeps Clothing. I couldn't go past that gorgeous charcoal tone, perfect for a day out in the city.

Sheeps Clothing - Made It
Sheeps Clothing on Etsy

What fortuitous timing, as it arrived in my letterbox on Monday, just in time for the wild winds and storms in Melbourne on Tuesday..... at least my neck was warm!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NQR (Not Quite Right)

Do you remember that I had very exciting plans for this lovely woollen jumper from the oppy?

I thought it would be best to give it a hot wash before I tried to cut it, just to make absolutely sure that it had been properly felted (or fulled). I've never used the hot wash cycle on my front loader, so I cranked the dial up to 90 degrees, added some detergent (not sure whether I should have or not), and let it run through a cycle.

Now this is not exactly the result I was looking for!

Selina, please stop laughing now.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A gift for Lily

I finally made a choice on the fabrics, and whipped up a little welcome gift for baby Lily.

Some muted pinks mixed with lots of white - I think Lily's mum will like them. I couldn't resist the cute little piggies that I bought from the Retromummy Shop.

I can hear the rain pouring down on my tin roof - what a lovely noise..... happy Monday.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Good News

Even when the market is a fizzer, there's always some good news....

Please excuse the blurry photos - my battery was dying

  • I had a lovely day drinking coffee and eating muffins and chatting with Annmarie (above) and Cathie (below), and we also had visits from Bec, Cathy, and Jay
  • I don't have to stress about making stock for the next Thornbury Market on Sept 5th.
  • I can load some stock into my very neglected CurlyPops Shop
  • Now I have time to hem my new curtains before they're hung next Sunday.

Hmmm time for a cup of tea and a lovely Melbourne Epicure muffin that I bought home yesterday....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Handbagging it up

It's the last day before my next market stall, and it's been a little while since the last one...

I've been toiling away in my little sweat shop whipping up some new bags to take along, and listening to my new favourite CD. Of course, there's been the normal bouts of complete procrastination, and lots of cups of teaand chocolate for sustenance (and I may even admit to a little op shopping excursion - I was having serious rummaging withdrawals).

I had to take poor old Frances outside into the cold for a photo shoot (sorry about the completely uninspiring background, but I had the choice of bricks or a colourbond fence.... or we could have played in the jungle of weeds that are currently inhabiting the patch of dirt which is supposed to be my backyard).

So I now have lots of new handbags and lots of new brooches to take along with me.

If you're looking for something to do on Saturday (22nd August), then come and visit the market at:

Queen Victoria Womens Centre
210 Lonsdale Street

Market will be open from 10.00 AM - 3.30 PM

Annmarie from Crafty Girl with Ruffle will be sharing a stall with me, and Cathie from Melbourne Epicure will be providing sustenance with delicious breads, cupcakes, and biccies (must remember 4 gingerbread men for my nephews).

I still have a few things left on my to do list today:

Organise change
Find tablecloths
Make pricetags and pricelist
Print order forms / receipts
Pack car
Early night!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My creative space

.... is a little bit dreary today

After a few days of sunny mornings, today I woke up to hear rain on my tin roof (which of course made me want to curl up and go straight back to sleep).

A half finished handbag next to the sewing machine - exactly where I left it lastnight.
Made using a vintage kitchen curtain from the oppy, and some cotton drill for an adjustable strap (with antique brass oblong rings and tri-glide).

I'm hoping to finish it off today some time.

The home of creativity.